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Comment: Re:A dollar in design... (Score 1) 81

by Rei (#49499137) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

Indeed, the figures Musk cited a couple years ago was that over 80% of the part count of a Falcon 9 is sourced in-house; it's a critical part of their approach to keeping costs down. He wanted to do that with Tesla as well but it proved impossible, only about 20% of their parts (at the time) were produced in-house. Unsurprisingly the biggest problems in their early days came from external suppliers, like the gearbox issue on the Roadster.

Comment: Re:Give the money to Elon Musk (Score 1) 81

by Rei (#49499119) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

ESAB is a Swedish company. What use is it to NASA to dote largess on a Swedish welding firm?

I'm actually rather disappointed with ESAB here. I have one of their MIG welders from the 1960s and it still works; they're a respectable name.

I feel bad for NASA mind you, in that I don't think many of their problems are their own. They get all sorts of legacy systems forced upon them due to political reasons ("You can't do decision X that would be more efficient because 1000 people in my district would lose their jobs"), they never get the funding to engineer new things from scratch based on lessons learned, etc. I do wonder, mind you, whether their heavy reliance on external contractors is something they could reform.

Comment: Re:have to rewrite muc federal law to not microman (Score 2) 81

by iluvcapra (#49498625) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt

When you have a comoany that knows how to do a certain thing , aka one of those evil corporations, getting hired by the federal government, some people want to do a lot of paperwork and stuff to keep track of what's going on, and other people go crazy with it.

If we're doing something important, like killing Hitler, or trying to beat the Commies to the moon, federal procurement can be remarkably efficient. Clear goals, and the stated willingness to accept some waste as long as the job's done, can do that.

Unfortunately since about the mid-1970s (Watergate you say?!), approximately zero "waste," of any kind is tolerated on any federal project, as this is "profiteering" or "wasting the people's money," so a lot of contractor time is spent on compliance. This makes the process incredibly loss-averse, and probably too risk-averse to actually accomplish anything.

The reality is that Elon Musk is able to do a good job, because he can destroy two or three recovery barges in a row and he doesn't have to explain it to anybody but his accountant. If the SLS had only one slip-up like that there would be a bloodbath of firings, senate hearings, press conferences with the President, and maybe the entire program might be scrubbed. Back in the late 50s NASA screwed up these kinds of operations all the time, but the American people tolerated it because of the Cold War. Nowadays the budget is so tight and public accountability is so fierce that frigging welding assembly subcontractors are apparently front-page news. We probably built and destroyed five facilities on the scale of this thing during Apollo and nobody batted an eye at the expense.

Comment: Re:yeah, not too surprising (Score 1) 160

You fool.
When he spoke about the spying on Americans, he was doing the right thing.
When he spoke about the NSA spying on other nations and terrorists, he became a traitor.
The reason is that the NSA was set up to SPECIFICALLY to spy on other nations, terrorists, foreigners, etc.
And consider that just about every nation in this world attempts to do the SAME THING, and regards it as legal, means that it is legal for NSA TO DO THE SAME.

Comment: Re:Sexes ARE different, thankfully (Score 1) 558

1. That's not "a" study, it's from a metastudy. The simple fact of the matter is, while the news makes a big deal of any study that shows a statistically significant difference between genders, most of these statistically significant differences are barely above the level of noise.

2. Where are you getting that quote from the paper? A search for those words doesn't reveal that.

There absolutely are some very demonstrable differences in certain psychological regards - mainly sexual. The most obvious of these, for example, is the fact that women are more likely to be attracted to men and men to women. But that's far from the majority of studied sexual differences that get so much play in the press. " With very few exceptions, variability within each sex and overlap between the sexes is so extensive that the authors conclude it would be inaccurate to use personality types, attitudes, and psychological indicators as a vehicle for sorting men and women. "

3. Girls are far less likely to get involved in chess to begin with in all countries (again, the fact that children mimic sex distribution of behaviors of the previous generation, no matter what they are in the particular society one is in), so one shouldn't be surprised that this is reflectected in the highest levels. Chess, as a competitive sport, has always been predominantly a "men's sport", internationally. But as XKCD notes, this is changing. The Polgár sisters are a great example. Their upbringing was an experiment by their father; to see what would happen if children were raised with extensive training in a specialist intellectual topic from an early age. One ended up an International Master while the other two ended up as Grand Masters, with Judit ending up one of the world's most powerful players of any gender. Their father's choice removed gender self -selection from the picture.

4. Oh please, you're not seriously going to pretend that there weren't tremendous pressures in Victorian society for women to not be involved in STEM-style careers, or that they weren't usually expressly banned from such. Even women who took them up as hobbies (usually well-to-do women) were often strongly advised against it, that it was harmful to a woman's delicate composition to be mentally straining one's self (a risk of the catch-all Victorian women's distorder "hysteria"; the cure for "hysteria" was to refrain from all serious physical and mental activity). This is the culture that ours came from, and it's been a slow incremental process of moving away from it ever since. The fact that you'd call "citation needed" on that is absurd, that's like "A normal human hand has five digits [citation needed]."

5."I'll see your 50% and raise it to 100%" - how does this even make sense? Women are 50% of the population (roughly). Nobody is talking about disinteresting men from pursuing STEM careers. There's already interest there. The goal is to try to also get more interest from women, to work against the carryover cultural connotations of STEM as "men's work".

6. " Are there laws or even customs, that prevent girls from entering a STEM field and excelling in it" - it's like you didn't even read my post.

7. "But what if it is bilogicial — as seems perfectly probable?" - not according to the actual research. And if one person wastes their time trying to become a physicist when they'd have made a better fry cook? Well whoop-di-freaking-doo. The world is still a better place.

Comment: Re:I like it... (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by Rei (#49497293) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

I once coded for a game, Eternal Lands, where I discovered a major security bug. The game had a feature where if a person said a URL, it would turn into a clickable link. This was opened via a popen call. No input sanitization. Aka, vulnerable to injection. A person who simply speaks a malicious URL and makes it look like something interesting to click (hiding the insertion command in the path) could run it on anyone's computer who clicks to open the link.

Big problem. Simple fix. But try as I might, I couldn't get them to let me fix it. They were fine with me writing a whole new special effects graphics system for them, but one simple input sanitization, noooo, the popen works, let's not mess with it and possibly "introduce a bug"! Eventually it took me writing a sample command on the forum that would make a file in the user's home directory (which anyone who knows anything about unix commands could make far more malicious) by clicking on the URL. Suddenly they let me patch the system immediately (and deleted the forum thread... I don't blame them).

I didn't want to have to resort to that. But I didn't want a potentially dangerous exploit sitting in the system.

I never got approval to fix all of the other potential exploits in their system. Their networking protocol was terrible. I only ever saw the client code, but there was literally zero authentication that the server was who they said they were and that packets weren't malformed. Their entire security model was "let's initiate a TCP connection to a hard-coded IP and unconditionally trust everything that we receive". I can't imagine what their server code is like. But they wouldn't even let me add in trivial bounds checking to make sure that the packets weren't oversized - the most minimal of sanity checking.

The fear of changes breaking stuff often leads developers to neglect security. Changes to improve gameplay or graphics? Of course, our users will love it! Changes to the protocol? Nonono, the protocol is working, why risk breaking it?

The short of it? Don't have too much faith that that MMORPG you're playing isn't hackable in a way that could be nasty to your system.

Comment: Re:Accepting a story from Florian Meuller? (Score 4, Insightful) 100

So far their acclaimed commitments seem to be mostly fluff with very little real substance in them..

How about completely opening .Net, moving their build system to GitHub, and moving the compiler to LLVM? Those seem to have some real substance to me. Then there's them embracing Docker for Windows Server 10 and open sourcing that work. This is not your fathers Microsoft.

Comment: Re: There's a reason for professional journalism (Score 2) 137

by iluvcapra (#49494057) Attached to: Wikileaks Publishes Hacked Sony Emails, Documents

Just speaking as someone who's PI is in the Sony dump, I have not yet been killed.

However, I'll be under fraud alert for the next three years, Nigerian princes call my cell about twice a day, and someone has already tried, and fortunately failed, to open a student loan in my name. (No, I don't get it either.)

I mean it's not awful, it's not like I slept with a video game reviewer or anything. But it's been a huge hassle.

Comment: Re:Sexes ARE different, thankfully (Score 1) 558

Or, maybe, women and men simply aren't the same?

The anatomy and physiology are demonstrably different.

Obviously what's at hand here is mental differences. Are there demonstrable mental differences? Yes! But there's only one issue with that...

In almost any sentence where people say "Women (verb)..." or "Men (verb)..." and it's about something psychological (as opposed to, say, something involving reproductive organs or a statistical difference in strength / height or the like), 99% of the time it's equally accurate to simply say "People (verb)..." The popular perception of the degree of differences between genders (including the effects of both brain structure and hormones) is often vastly different from the statistical reality. Screw Mars and Venus; men and women are from Earth. Psychologically, we're statistically virtually identical in most measures. And in many cases where there are differences that even manage to meet statistical significance, what differences there are may well be artifacts of culture.

Human children learn through imitating. They adopt role models (such as their parents at an early age) and mimic their behaviors, to the degree that it can even hinder them (one of the sort of psychological tests where chimps perform better than human children is to lay out a puzzle and have an adult solve it in front of the subjects, but insert a bunch of needless time-wasting steps; the human children almost invariably perform all of the time-wasting steps while the chimps catch on quickly that they're pointless and skip them). As a general rule, children most mimic members of their gender, something that socially they're rewarded for. By the very nature of this system, it inherently perpetuates the carryover of any totally non-gender-related but nonetheless gender-segregated activities from the previous generation. If you had a society where eating apples was something almost exclusively done by men, even if you didn't specifically teach the next generation that apples are a "men's fruit", the vast majority of girls wouldn't take up eating apples.

Given this, whether there would be any factual basis or not for women to be better or worse at STEM, the very fact that historically there were fewer women in STEM (a legacy from the old Victorian moral system), this will automatically lead to there being fewer women in STEM in the next generation. Now, one can do nothing and just hope that, after enough generations, the problem will remedy itself. Or, one can decide that having 50% of the human population having a solid interest in the sort of careers most valuable to the improvement of the human condition is a good thing, and maybe we should give a shot at remedying this, even if just on the "offchance" that it's not biological.

"You stay here, Audrey -- this is between me and the vegetable!" -- Seymour, from _Little Shop Of Horrors_

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